[b-hebrew] Ayin and Ghayin

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Mon Oct 31 15:11:29 EST 2005


Haven't you been reading my earlier posts?

First, I believe that the Phoenicians got the alphabet from 
the Hebrews, not the other way around.

Second, when languages are spelled phonetically, their 
alphabets tend to shrink and grow according to 
recognized phonemes in the language. As evidence, look 
at what the Greeks and Romans did to the alphabet they 
received from the Semites, and that's just two examples. 
That the ancient Hebrews did not have separate 
graphemes until much, much later, a millennium and a 
half or more later, is evidence that when ancient Hebrews 
first used the alphabet, the split had not yet occurred.

The two above reasons are (strongly) opposed by many, 
but added to the following I think make a stronger case:

One, I noticed that phonemic difference between sin and 
shin is rare, it appears to be as rare in percent of words as 
for any other letter where the same spelling has two or 
more distinct meanings.

Two, I have noticed several words that have the same 
meanings, used in the same contexts, yet here spelled 
with a sin, there with a shin.

Three, in looking at words from a common root, 
sometimes one uses a sin, another a shin.

It is these five reasons that conspired together to cause 
me to question what I had been taught when I studied 
Hebrew. Each one alone is not convincing, but taken 

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Stoney Breyer" <stoneyb at touchwood.net>
> Granted that people will assimilate what they hear to the phonemic
> distinctions which they are prepared to recognize and their orthographic
> system permits them to represent, this calls for skepticism respecting
> only the phonetic precision of the transcription, not the distinction
> itself. Canadian and Tidewater dialects do not say u: for au in house,
> the Welsh name Llewellyn does not start with an "f" phoneme - but
> transcriptions like "aboot the hoose" or "Fluellen" do represent real
> phonetic differences from "standard" English pronunciations.
> As I understand it, historical linguistics systematically relates the
> sin/shin opposition (which you concede the Masoretes actually heard) to
> phonemic distinctions evident in cognate languages which could not be
> realized in the Phoenician alphabet. Whence do you derive the
> opposition?
> Stoney Breyer
> Writer/Touchwood

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